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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son.

Click here to watch a segment of the Motherhood Manifesto documentary to learn more about Selena's story and why we all need access to paid family and medical leave.


Know the Facts

  • Right now only 13 (!!!) percent of Americans have access to paid family leave through their employer and only 37% have personal medical leave provided through an employer.
  • Although the current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, it only covers about 60 percent of employees.
  • A quarter of all poverty spells in the United States are because of having a baby.
  • The U.S is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).
  • Paid leave improves worker retention, which saves employers money through reduced turnover cost.


What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

6, 12 and 24 - surviving the birth of my first son

Posted May 22, 2016 by cdallesandro

10 years ago my life changed forever. In a frenzy of pain and excitement my son arrived at 3:30AM and what was two became a trio.  At the time, I was working full-time in an intense job that I loved – that also provided paid family leave – and this made all the difference. When [...]

Pumping Milk at 40,000 Feet: Four Women Pilots Are Navigating a Course toward Fairness

Posted May 11, 2016 by Liz Morris

Hearing a woman’s voice come over the intercom before takeoff, “this is your captain speaking,” can be a moving experience, even today:  She made it! She beat the odds!  A stirring sense of admiration as you check that your seatbelt is indeed securely fastened for takeoff. But women who work in roles traditionally held by [...]

Airline Pilots Should Not Have to Choose Between Their Jobs and Breastfeeding Their Babies

Posted May 10, 2016 by Shannon Kiedrowski

I’m a commercial airline pilot, and I love my job. As a kid, I was obsessed with airplanes.  My parents encouraged my passion for flying, and in spite of the odds — women currently make up only six percent of commercial pilots — I became a pilot. I spent many years chasing my flying career. [...]

What Moms Really Need for Mother's Day

Posted May 6, 2016 by Lecia Imbery

Flowers are purchased, cards are mailed and brunch reservations are made. Mother’s Day is here again. But what many moms really need for this holiday is something much different – and much more substantial. Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Department of Labor held an event yesterday to discuss the importance of paid family and medical [...]

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